Hong Kong shares close higher led by properties; Alibaba hit by profit-taking

HONG KONG (XFN-ASIA) - Share prices closed higher as property stocks were boosted by hopes that excess liquidity in the banking system will prompt local lenders to cut interest rates further in the coming months, with the sector also benefiting from positive broker notes.

China commodity firms provided additional support amid a spike in oil and gold prices.

The H-share sector was also helped by news that Ping An and Huatai Insurance have been approved to buy Hong Kong stocks under China's qualified direct institutional investor (QDII) program, although some China financials fell prey to profit-taking after early gains.

Wall Street's gains overnight helped support overall sentiment.

Chinese e-commerce portal Alibaba.com tumbled 17.5 pct on profit-taking after nearly tripling from its IPO price on its debut yesterday, while PC maker Lenovo lost over 7 pct after news of a share placement.

The Hang Seng index closed up 270.80 points or 0.92 pct at 29,708.93, off a low of 29,596.18 and high of 30,195.64.

Turnover was 159.56 bln hkd.

The property sub-index was up 1,684.47 points or 4.77 pct at 36,972.96. The Hang Seng China Enterprises index ended up 67.63 points or 0.37 pct at 18,552.13, off a high of 18,998.34.

Among commodity stocks, Zijin Mining rose 0.3 hkd or 2.35 pct to 13.04 and Lingbao Gold was up 0.37 hkd or 7.05 pct at 5.62.

In the oil sector, CNOOC rose 0.44 hkd or 3.03 pct to 14.94, while PetroChina ended down 0.22 hkd or 1.26 pct at 17.28 after early gains.

Alibaba was down 6.9 hkd or 17.47 pct at 32.6, while Lenovo fell 0.62 hkd or 7.1 pct to 8.11.

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